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Bible Commentaries
Leviticus 5

Garner-Howes Baptist CommentaryGarner-Howes

Verses 1-6


Verses 1-6:

The first thirteen verses of Chapter Five continue the theme of the Sin Offering. The first six verses of the text list three specific instances in which the Sin Offering is required. They are:

1. A Witness, in a judicial hearing. "If a soul. . .hear the voice of swearing," that is, if one were adjured to give testimony under oath after the requirements of the Jewish legal code (2Ch 18:15; Mt 27:63), and did not give evidence of what he had heard and seen, then he must "bear his iniquity," lit. be regarded as guilty. In this case, the guilty must atone for his sin by offering a ewe lamb, or a female kid, or two turtle-doves, or two pigeons, or a portion of flour as a Sin Offering.

2. Ceremonial uncleanness. If one became ceremonially unclean by coming in contact with either a dead body, or some substance which rendered him unclean, and if this were done unwittingly, or through neglect, he must offer a Sin Offering as provided in verse 1.

3. Failure to fulfill an oath (vow). If one took an oath to do either good or evil, or to do anything whatever, and then neglected to fulfill the oath, he must offer a Sin Offering as provided above.

"Trespass Offering," asham, could be more accurately translated, "for his trespass," or in expiation for his guilt. It does not refer to the Trespass Offering, described in Leviticus 5:14 - 7:38.

Verses 7-10

Verses 7-10:

The Sin Offering was mandatory, not voluntary, and was required of all who were guilty. As a concession to poverty, two provisions were instituted.

The first of these two provisions was: If unable to offer an animal as sacrifice, he might bring two turtledoves, or two pigeons. One bird was for the Sin Offering, the other for the Whole Burnt offering. The priest would wring off the head of the bird of the Sin Offering, sprinkle part of its blood on the side of the altar, and the rest at the base of the altar. The second bird was offered as a Burnt Offering, in the manner described in Chapter One.

Verses 11-13

Verses 11-13:

The second provision for the poor offerer was: The offerer could bring "a tenth part of an ephah" (about three and a half pints) of, flour, as a Sin Offering. This must not be mixed with oil or frankincense. The priest would burn a handful of the flour upon the altar, and the remainder would belong to the officiating priest as his portion, in the manner of the Meat Offering (see Chapter Two).

The Law provided these two concessions, in order that none could claim poverty as an excuse for not offering the Sin Offering. It pictures the Divine mandate, that there is no excuse for any failure to confess and receive pardon for sin, see Ro 1:20; 2:1.

Verses 14-16

Verses 14-16:

This text begins the section regarding the Trespass Offering.

There is little distinction between the Sin Offering and the Trespass Offering, see Ps 40:6; Heb 10:8. The primary difference appears to be that the Trespass Offering was for offenses which required reparations to be made. The Sin Offering pictures the expiation for sin upon the cross, for all people. The Trespass Offering pictures the satisfaction for sin wrought by the life and death of Christ, on behalf of His own people.

God’s people do sin, even though they are saved, 1Jo 1:7- 2:3. But these transgressions will not send any to hell. These sins have been accounted to Christ, and He has paid for them, Ro 4:1-8.

"Trespass," asham, "guilt... built offering."

Two conditions must be met before one might offer his Trespass Offering: he must:

1. Make compensation for any harm or injury done;

2. Give to the injured party a payment of 20% (one-fifth) of the value of that which he had harmed, if possible to estimate this sum.

In making the Trespass Offering, the offerer must bring a ram to the tabernacle courtyard; and then offer the ram and slay it.

The priest’s function for the Trespass Offering: throw the blood on the inward sides of the altar, burn the inward fat and the tail, and then claim the remainder of the sacrifice for himself and his brethren to be eaten in the tabernacle courtyard (Le 7:2-7).

"Through ignorance," see Le 4:2, and the comments thereon.

"In the holy things of the Lord," refers to the withholding of tithes and offerings. Non-payment of tithes and offerings was tantamount to robbing God, Mal 3:8, and as such was a trespass, a willful violation which involved compensation.

The priest must fix the monetary value of the ram. 20% (one-fifth) of this value was to be added to the sacrifice, as a fine.

"Sheckel of the sanctuary" denotes an exact weight and value.

The text gives the conditions for an offering for sins of omission, knowing what to do but not doing it, see Jas 4:17.

Verses 17-19

Verses 17-19:

The Trespass Offering was required for sins of commission, as well as for sins of omission. the same conditions apply as above.

Bibliographical Information
Garner, Albert & Howes, J.C. "Commentary on Leviticus 5". Garner-Howes Baptist Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ghb/leviticus-5.html. 1985.
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